The inflexible world view

posted by Jeff | Friday, August 26, 2016, 9:19 PM | comments: 0

If the political season of a presidential season has shown us anything, it's the strange and bizarre way that people will stick to a totally fucked up ideology for no other reason than it's the opposite of the people they don't agree with. For the record, arguing with people on the Internet doesn't do any good.

As weird and disturbing as that phenomenon might be, it's the more innocuous condition where people believe that certain conditions for life are the norm, or the standard by which they measure their own lives. I'm surprised by how many friends adhere to these standards, and even more surprised at how they stick to them. This isn't some kind of conservative of progressive agenda, it's more about the things that aren't political at all.

What do I mean? Concrete examples, you say? OK, the most common variety might be the way one measures success. It's the usual thing, about a certain income, a certain kind of car and a certain expense for a house, maybe private school for kids. Another example may be standards for relationships, in that the partner must meet certain demographic criteria (education, age, life experience, you name it). Maybe it's the "normal" for social experience, in terms of friends, social engagement, scope and depth of relationships and such. Heck, it even applies to work, in that certain levels or titles or even satisfaction are what they strive for.

Let's not confuse these with goals... these are views that constitute acceptable and proper arrangements for the standards of their lives. I see them in many of my closest friends, and wonder if they're not in some way destructive. They aren't flexible in these views, perhaps because deviation, in their minds, means compromise. I don't know what motivates these views, other than some process of domestication that happens throughout our lives.

I'm guilty of having these views myself, but I'm at a point now where I consciously try to avoid making them rigid. I suppose that some combination of divorce, a major career change and other flavors of turmoil have pushed me to a point where my view on the world has forcibly been made more fluid. As I see it, this is a practical matter. If I had inflexible views on what success is, or relationships or career, I would undoubtedly be miserable. It's not that I compromise, far from it. I've made life changes in the last six years that have been extreme and extraordinary (and wrong, too). It's that whatever I may have ingrained earlier in life has proven out to be not the ideal I thought it would be.

Consider that: Is there some aspect of your life that doesn't fit your ideal? Is the problem you or the ideal? When you start letting go of those ideals, it's very freeing. You aren't compromising as much as you're realizing that your ideals may have been arbitrary bullshit in the first place. Self-awareness is good.


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